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SCOTUS, biosimilars focus in 2013

BY Alaric DeArment

The year is only halfway done, but 2013 is already proving to be a year of particular importance for generic drugs as the industry awaits two important decisions from the Supreme Court and continues to wait for federal biosimilar regulations while fending off efforts to limit the scope of their use at the state level.

The patent cliff has continued, with the expiration of Purdue Pharma’s patent on the long-acting opioid painkiller OxyContin (oxycodone), though companies looking to make generic versions have to include anti-tampering features; however, generic versions of another commonly abused opioid, Endo Pharmaceuticals’ Opana ER (oxymorphone), won’t need to include anti-tampering features.

The Food and Drug Administration is still working on regulations for biosimilars, as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which created an abbreviated regulatory approval pathway for them. 

In addition to progress on the biosimilar front, the Supreme Court will soon reach decisions on two important generic drug industry cases. Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, which DSN covered in its April issue, will decide the legality of patent settlements between branded and generic drug companies in which generic companies agree to hold off product launch in exchange for payment or the branded company agreeing to not launch an authorized generic. Another case, Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett, will decide if a generic drug company can be held liable for injuries caused by its products when those products are identical to their brand-name counterparts. 

A lot will happen this year to affect the generic drug industry. The question is how will they play out?

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DSN, CCA host 6th Retail Clinician Education Congress

BY Rob Eder

LAS VEGAS — The Drug Store News Group, in conjunction with the Convenient Care Association, hosted the sixth annual Retail Clinician Education Congress at the Planet Hollywood resort and casino last month. In addition to the annual CARE Awards (i.e., Clinician Achievement in Retail Excellence), which celebrate the excellence in patient care delivery at the nurse practitioner/physician assistant level, the event also featured a special roundtable discussion with top retail clinic leaders. The discussion offered key insight into healthcare changes, challenges and opportunities that will impact retail clinics over the next few years.

A transcript of the CEO roundtable, as well as profiles of this year’s CARE Awards winners, will appear in future editions of DSN.

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WAG rapidly opens flagship stores

BY Rob Eder

The beat goes on for Walgreens’ store development activities, as the chain last month hosted grand opening events in Boston and San Francisco — about one week apart.

Walgreens VP of merchandising, store design and well experience Bryan Pugh walked DSN through the new Boston flagship on April 30 for a special pre-opening store tour. The expansive, 25,000-plus-sq.-ft. store — the site of Boston’s historic Five Cents Savings Bank — includes more than 17,000 sq. ft. of selling space and houses more than 20,000 SKUs. The store is home to two unique features, including a new interactive kiosk from Coinstar that allows customers to sample select beauty items for $1.

Also unique to the new Boston store is a kiosk in the pharmacy that ties into the city’s Boston Moves initiative — which aims to get Boston residents to lose 1 million pounds and move 10 million miles — with Walgreens’ Steps with Balance Rewards program.

A week later, Walgreens executives were in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of another flagship store located in the Union Square area.

With the Boston and San Francisco flagship stores, the company now operates 46 Look Boutiques — with 29 currently in Duane Reade stores and 17 in Walgreens stores — with a total of 55 planned by the end of the year, Pugh told DSN.

In addition to extensive photos of the two newest stores, DSNTV recently interviewed Walgreens DVP of category strategy, innovation and space management Beth Stiller for a Virtual Store Tour segment focused on Walgreens’ key strategy in such core categories as health and beauty, and how it plays out in its flagship stores.

For extensive views of the new Boston and San Francisco stores, go to DrugStoreNews.com/photos. To see the Store Tour video with Walgreens’ Stiller, go to DrugStoreNews.com/video. DSN+ users: Simply scan any of the images at right.

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